Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Witness to Extinction: How We Failed to Save the Yangtze River Dolphin

Witness to Extinction: How We Failed to Save the Yangtze River DolphinBy Samuel Turvey
Paperback : 256 Pages
October 15, 2009

Witness to Extinction: How We Failed to Save the Yangtze River Dolphin is without a doubt, one of the saddest books I’ve ever read. It is the true life account of the final Yangzte River Survey to locate any remaining Baiji, and the story of the Baiji and Chinese conservation in general.

Turvey, who was the lead author on the paper that announced the probable extinction of the species back in 2006, cares deeply for this subject, and pours out his frustration with the international conservation community. I had never realized the amount of bureaucracy involved, it gets really infuriating just reading it. The book details all of the failed efforts over time, juxtaposing them with the successes and failures of other species around the world.

QiQi, the only successful captive Baiji
I’m really glad I read this book. It gave me new insight into wildlife conservation and all of the steps and measures required to save a species from being gone forever. Unfortunately, Turvey’s Yangtze Project was too late, and the fabled River Dolphin is most like extinct. Witness serves as a passionate and well-written warning to scientists and lay-people alike about the fragility of our endangered species and speed at which they can disappear without true, proactive help.

Recommended to anyone with an interest in Dolphins, Endangered Species, or Conservation in general.

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